|HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II,|
HH has been moved by the plight of elderly parents, mostly affluent, in our church, who have been abandoned by their loving children who have flown to foreign shores in search of a living, job, studies, less competition and an improved standard of living for the family.
The parents have gone out of the way to educate and nurture the kids in the hope that in their older days, their kids will take good care of them. But to their shock they find, the children having abandoned them, returning to visit their parents and relatives once in two years or so.
The elderly parents, not wanting to stay in an alien environment, long to catch a glimpse of their children and grandchildren, if not through skype, in real life at least once in two years or more. A horrible and long wait !!
Some of these parents later even repent as to why they pushed their children to foreign lands for studies or jobs, even when their children were well off within the country ..
It is in these disappointing times, of desperation and helplessness both on the side of the parents and children, the proposal to establish Palliveedu ( meaning houses attached to the church) by Bawa Thirumeni finds great relevance. The children are able to give their parents the best of house, food, comforts and money, but not their love, care and presence in their final days.
If pallikkoodam earlier gave our forefathers a chance to learn the basics of language, physical sciences, spirituality and social sciences, palliveedu will give our elderly parents a chance to live a peaceful and prayerful elderly life, saving their self respect, in the company of like minded "suffering" elderly people, engaging in prayers and fasting, with caring people around to take care of them in their last days..
For we Malayalis, who in the hurry to make as much dollar bills and to flaunt a higher standard of living, have been global travellers for thousands of years in search of improved standard of living, (only to later realise how this has changed the lifestyle, values and spirituality of their children) this is a new thought.
There is no doubt that we will give Bawa Thirumeni full support in this grand plan to help our elderly people realise a peaceful, purposeful, respectful end to their lives. This is a changed reality of life .. We have to accept this truth sometime or the other .. Let us not forget, like we treat our parents, our children will also treat us..
In foreign shores and even in our land, a place that care for elderly people are called old age homes. But this concept presented here is slightly different in that it is not simply an old age home, it is a home where the old are taken care of in divine, spiritual surroundings irrespective of your religious, social or economic background, where the young and healthy, in their spare time can go and help around with some social service.
Initially this is being proposed to be built around existing churches.. Later on depending on the availability of land, resources and cheerful minds of wilful donors, these can be set up in different places within India to cater not only to people from the Orthodox community but even elderly people from other communities.
Discussions and thoughts on this Palliveedu concept are welcome for discussions on this list.
Let us face reality and " call a spade a spade .."